I got a news alert about Rupert Murdoch last night, and my hopes were raised momentarily that he had finally taken the A train straight to hell. Unfortunately, his diet of white rhino steak seasoned with puppy and kitten tears is working, and the motherfucker is still breathing. The “scoop” is that Murdoch testified that the lies Fox was spewing about Dominion voting machines and the “stolen election” were, indeed, lies. Oh, also, the sun rose in the East this morning.
I get that the press has to report this, and I get that it’s good to bury the election lies deep in the ground and salt the earth, but the breathless reporting of this “scoop” is, for me at least, part and parcel of the whole DC Press Corpse sickness. This story exhibits two big symptoms of that disease: They have to report something obviously true as a big surprise, and a fact (the Dominion lie) is only established when a Republican admits that it is true.
Anyway, that reminded me of another gripe — they (and by this I mean the mainstream media in general) are massive prudes. On the one hand, we have the human race, fucking like the naked apes we are, and on the other hand we have a press where you’d have to read very carefully to find that out. Things have definitely changed — at least for Republicans — since, apparently, it is now OK to have a President who cheated and harassed women, but I think prudishness is part of why Trump wasn’t taken to task by the press for the harassment. Their template for reporting this kind of behavior is the enormously broad “sex scandal” story arc. When that template was thrown out in their effort to normalize Trump, they couldn’t separate the stuff that nobody really cares about (Trump having consensual sex with adult women)* from the stuff that is awful (harassment at best, rape at worst).
The “sex scandal” template was a pretty easy one, since these guys are at core lazy and entitled. Unless a male politician’s sex life involved his wife, in the missionary position, at home, in bed, with only one orgasm being had (the man’s, the way baby jebus intended), it’s a “sex scandal.” Lather, rinse repeat.
The 90s were awful for a lot of reasons, but one of them was the massive furor over a god damned blowjob. Of course, the real story here is whether an intern could consent to that act with a man who held power over her, but the salacious way it was reported focused entirely on a really commonplace sex act. The key point about that scandal is that careers were made in reporting that tawdry affair, and that made a real mark on the DC Press Corpse, who are in almost every way stuck in the glory days of the cable news 90s.
Another factor is the predominance of WASP Ivy culture in the mainstream media. I can’t remember the title or author of a book I read a while ago (sorry) — it was a war memoir by a Ivy-educated WASP officer who was stationed on a island in the Pacific. He said that censoring the letters home written by his enlisted men was a real revelation because those guys would write, in graphic detail, what they were going to do with their wives or girlfriends when they got home. It was something just foreign to him, and I think that class/experience divide still exists to some degree in our Ivy educated press corpse. “Educated” and “sophisticated” people do not discuss sex, the end.
This second gripe was triggered by my general bad attitude and also by listening to Dan Savage being interviewed by Ezra Klein on Ezra’s podcast. I really like Dan Savage, so I listened to Ezra’s show, which is usually like listening to a bunch of virgin college freshman discuss politics and political theory after half a bong hit and a sip of beer. Ezra has always struck me as a bit of a prude, and boy does he dance around avoiding a frank discussion of the mechanics of sex. Still, I thought it was a good listen, especially the parts about chosen family and how the gay community could be a model for raising children. The part that really bugs me about the podcast wasn’t the content, it was the context. Dan Savage is now mainstream enough to be Ezra’s guest, but when he started in the 90s, his frank discussion of sexuality was seen as almost revolutionary. In modern memory, sex was such a taboo subject that in this vast country of ours, a mouthy gay man writing in an indy newspaper was one of the few journalists who could write about it frankly.
Now I’m finally going to get to the point: this prudishness is part of why there’s so much receptivity on the part of the Times and other outlets for anti-trans hatred. Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina, and they meet in one way, just how we learned from the gym teacher in 8th grade health. Anything else is wrong, and open for shaming. I know there’s way more to anti-trans bigotry, but in the media, prudishness is one part of it.
* This may be a minority opinion, but I personally don’t like cheating and have never/would never do it, but in politicians, I only care about cheating if they’re hypocrites or if there are consent issues. Also, some of what is characterized as “cheating” is an arrangement between two people doing what they need to stay married, but even in our slightly more permissive environment, a politician couldn’t stand up and just say that.
Just wanted to say, both my gym teachers were lesbians! I am still straight and BORING, at 72! Where did they go wrong? Also, too, I learned about sex from a friend…I think she was a friend. ETA: holy shit, number 1!
$8 blue check mistermix
@leeleeFL: We’re friends with a couple – the wife is a gym teacher. The joke is that she’s the only straight female gym teacher in the state.
I agree with it completely.
@$8 blue check mistermix: I was in HS from 1965-1969! We thought the Lesbian gym chicks were wild!
hells littlest angel
And if they were barely reporting this, that too would be bad. Who are you, Goldilocks?
Breatlhessly reporting on this fraud and deceit is a GOOD thing. It’s a VERY good thing.
A Ghost to Most
Heh. People who believe in magic NEVER grow up. They just believe HARDER.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
the two things that surprise me about the Fox Files are: 1) they talked about it so freely and frankly among themselves, I assumed they would be more circumspect and political, using coded language even among themselves; 2) Sean Hannity is in on the scam, I always thought that marble-headed stupe was the host who most resembled his viewers
I have never agreed with one of your posts more than I agree with this one mistermix!
$8 blue check mistermix
@hells littlest angel:
Are you kink shaming me? Because wanting things to be perfectly the way I would like is certainly one of my kinks…
Had 1 elderly lesbian gym teacher and one straight *blonde hair toss* Christian one. Ran into the lesbian one at a party several years after graduation. It frightened and concerned her, and she sought reassurance from me that I would not ever mention to anyone in town. This in early 80’s California.
80’s California? Ground Zero for Gen X nostalgia. If Ferris had only played hooky in Encino…
Actual lol – this reads like Tony Jay.
And you are absolutely correct about the press corp.
@oatler: Ha. As far as I knew, the ’80s mostly occurred in Southern California.
Watching a whole industry spring up over “Let’s Go Brandon” really hammered home how childish and prurient many Republicans are. They were like 6th graders giggling because they got away with saying something dirty.
My recollection of the Clinton sex scandal media frenzy is fuzzy because it erupted days after our kiddo was born. But IIRC, the power differential between Clinton and Lewinsky got a tiny fraction of the coverage the “Lewinsky as home-wrecker” and “Hillary can’t keep her man from straying” angles got, which pissed me off at the time and still does.
It was definitely different times! Today, a president caught red-handed like that would have to resign — only if he were a Democrat, of course. Regarding cheating, the prurient bullshit doesn’t interest me, but if someone’s spouse can’t trust them, that goes to character, which does.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@oatler: Where ’80s nostalgia is concerned, I’m nostalgic for West Michigan, which is where I grew up, though it probably qualifies as the Upper Midwest version of “California” – at least the Beach Boys’ sun and sand version – in that there are nice sandy beaches with towering sand dunes along the Lake Michigan Shore, and hence something of a beach culture.
No love for Dr. Ruth?
Back when I was working (a mere two months ago . . .) at an LGBTQ place, when folks would sorta kinda want to know where I am on these things, I settled on “There are a lot of ways of being queer.” I had no intention of or desire to discuss my activities with my coworkers, but at the same time wanted to hold space for acceptance–nay, embrace!–of whatever people wanted to do, be, or identify as. Point being, I’ve never fit neatly into the various categories, which is perfectly fine with me–but it also means I recognized that a LOT of people don’t necessarily fit neatly into straight, cisgender, monogamous categories, even as people often feel that they need to act that part (often for safety reasons). And I blame the Hays Code: it removed from view anything other than those categories, which, movies being the first VISIBLE versions of the world being presented to mass audiences, meant that all of that queerness had to be suppressed. But it’s been there all along–I like to think of it as “variety”–despite all of that suppression.
Dan Savage has observed that when his column started, the questions ran toward how to fit unlikely objects inside yourself. Now people can look that up on the internet. What they can’t look up is why their relationship conundrum is different and unique and doesn’t fit the usual models for this relationship conundrum, and so advice columns–his and others–will continue.
I also really liked Carolyn Hax’s advice, from the days when we all had dvd collections, that you view moving in together as being similar to marriage in terms of reluctance to undo. Because she got so many letters along the lines “On the left, 30 reasons to leave; on the right, would have to disentangle our dvd collections. So I have no choice but to stay, really, it’s only logical.”
Imagine you’d come to a newspaper editor as a reporter who’d just discovered Clinton’s infidelity saying, “The story here is that she’s not credibly able to consent with the damn president!”
That editor would laugh and say, “You’re crazy! We have the golden, once-in-a-lifetime chance to mumble ‘blowjob!’ That’s what people will pay for! They’ll line up for it!”
They make a big show of civic mindedness with talk of the 5th estate, news values reflecting reader concerns, “7 on Your Side!”, acting as a member of the community, and on and on. But news values are commercial values, and they overlap a lot, sure.
But what drives me nuts is that the DC press corps pretends not to know this at all, and they’re the case where it’s most obvious. Policy reporting has a low ROI.
As the month of February winds down, 32 priests/pastors/various religious leaders have been arrested for child molestation. For those keeping score at home, 0 drag queens have been arrested.
Well, I certainly don’t remember any of it, and I was in MA during that period, so you must be right.
The real bullshit is that – they have to resign because the 3rd party voters/independent voters are the prudes. I dont think democrats actually care. I certainly won’t be asking anyone to resign given that even the worst democrat is better than any republican.
The standard of behavior has degraded to the point that I don’t give a rats ass as long as you’re doing your job.
Ron DeathSantis and the FLA lege say “hold our beer.”
Not just sex. Any bodily function, any mental health or addiction issue in the family, any physical health issue, even any bad feelings.
I just want to point out that Clinton’s critics back in the 1990s were notable for shagging like rabbits. Larry Flynt called out god knows how many of them for screwing around with women who were not their wives, including Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde (of the Hyde Amendment), and Bob Livingston. Brett Kavanagh was in with that lot too. A lot of people in the news media were playing the same games too, which is why a lot of them lost their jobs because of the metoo movement. Remember that Chris Matthews and Mark Halperin got their start covering the Clinton White House.
The thing about prudishness is that most forms of it are not anti-sex. It’s about sex being a privilege afforded those who are members of the club, the club that George Carlin liked to remind people they are not in. By their logic, powerful men (such as elected politicians who are not Democrats) are entitled to fuck to their heart’s content. Chastity is for the rest of us plebians. Republican support for Trump is not a repudiation of this logic; it’s an affirmation of it.
To put it another way, the only scandal back in the 1990s was that there was a Democrat in the White House. Coffee is for closers, and blow jobs are for Republicans. That was Clinton’s crime. And Lewinsky’s for that matter.
The other thing is that this will change nothing. The next scandal Fox invents, the other news outlets will start screaming it at full volume. Watch what happens when Tucker Carlson starts lying about the Jan. 6 footage. The coverage from other outlets will be indistinguishable from the original Fox line. The fact that Fox says things they know to be lies will never, ever come up. And if someone in the Biden administration points that out, they’ll scream HOW DARE YOU ATTACK OUR SISTER NEWS ORGANIZATION THIS IS THE TYRANNY THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT.
The degree to which our Beltway media superiors actively support the fascists varies. But the constant is that they don’t think their lives will be affected, so it’s all just so very interesting.
@Betty Cracker: Lewinsky admitted that she was the one who wanted the relationship anyway. She worked in the White House but not in the Oval Office area. She had been told on several occasions to go back to her office and complete her assignments and to stay out of the Oval area. Clinton didn’t have “power’ over her like that, if she stayed in her office their paths would have never crossed. Some of the folks who worked there said later that they thought something was up, but never had proof.
After the “Me Too’ movement gathered steam she tried to recast herself as a victim but got called out on it pretty quickly. She kind of grifts off of the continued notoriety, calling herself the first victim of cyber bullying.
@Delk: Is there a place keeping track of this? Would be nice to give that more play…
Stop writing publishable posts right now!
While I don’t disagree about prudishness and its problems in the media and elsewhere, I will play devil’s advocate and assert that, unlike with other important topics, too much of a lack of restraint in discussions of sexual topics in open forums can lead to trolls and immature actors using crude, vulgar, or insensitive language that can oppress and drive away people who might otherwise benefit from the discussion. For better or worse, sex is different from things like cooking.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Jake Tapper is getting far less dragging than he deserves for that moment, IMHO. Poor boy was nearly in tears
@Splitting Image: This is all basically correct; I just want to point out—again—how many of the biggest media personalities covering the first major-party candidacy of a woman were actual sexual harassers. Not just “I don’t know about that guy” guys—“losing your seven-figure job” guys.
@SFAW: Ha. I didn’t consider this possibility.
A lot of my memories seem to feature SoCal, even though I didn’t grow up there either.
@cain: The standard of behavior is as degraded as we allow it be.
Hey, at least we know the Washington political press corps, not to mention Fox and its imitators, will never gin up a Biden sex scandal, because it would totally knock down their “he’s too old to be President” schtick.
I guess I disagree somewhat about the importance of the information about Fox and the Dominion lawsuit. I think the most important message from the reporting of the texts isn’t “it’s true that the election wasn’t stolen now that a Republican has said it.” It’s “you guys are a bunch of monsters, evil and cowardly at the same time, who spewed lies and damaged our country in so many ways by relentless hyping what you knew was a baldfaced lie; and you did it significant part because you were worried about your ratings if you told the truth.” It shows FOX as avaricious cowards; it shows them also as an entity with utter contempt for their viewers. It makes it easier to explain to “both siders do it” why no, MSNBC is not a liberal equivalent to FOX.
I mean, I think that all of us on this blog have known what FOX is for a very long time, but having them say what they are, from their own mouths, with no equivocation or nuance, is valuable IMO.
No matter how she sees it or how much she “wanted” it, it is not seen as “consent” when there is an unequal power relationship.
I generally agree with this too-don’t care whatever arrangement married people have as long as there is mutual adult consent and you can focus on and do your job.
Also, from the Hays Code discussion a few days earlier, it always surprised me to learn how many parents were so strict about movies with sexual content but weren’t concerned at all about violent content.
Lastly, as for Fox, it always comes up in trials that Fox hosts are liars-so no surprises there, but glad it is getting more notice again due to the Dominion suit. It would be nice if this led to Fox being excluded from the WH Press Corps and from being shown on military bases, with the explanation why (“even Fox’s lawyers admit they are liars”, etc), but not holding my breath on that one.
We all knew Fox was lying, because that’s what they do. But them admitting it, in sworn testimony and setting up potentially the biggest defamation ruling in history is news. It’s also one more grain of sand in the pile of evidence that might help convict Trump of charges related to 1/6, since it shows yet another example of people in his sphere of influence recognizing the Big Lie, in real time and conveying that back to his campaign. Just because we all suspected/knew that Fox was actively aiding and abetting the Trump campaign, doesn’t mean it’s not newsworthy when they finally admit that they did. Now, does it change a heck of a lot? Probably not. But it is absolutely newsworthy.
@Marmot: Framing Clinton and Lewinsky as an actual issue of consent seems misguided. They were both adults who, from all accounts, knew what they were doing. The reason workplace relationships between superiors and underlings should be prohibited is because a) the underling may feel pressured to be in the relationship to keep or advance their job; and b) even if there is no pressure intended or felt, and the relationship is entirely consensual, the potential for retribution once the relationship ends or unfair advancement to keep the relationship going is too great. Notwithstanding that Clinton should never have done what he did for all of the above reasons, plus it was gross incompetence when Republicans would use anything to hang him with, the reporting at the time was that the affair was entirely consensual and there was no retribution or other employment misconduct.
@gwangung: Joe.My.God keeps track. He tweets the running total to a group of loud mouthed hypocrites.
@glory b: Lewinsky was a 22-year-old intern, and Bill Clinton was the 52-year-old president of the United States. There was absolutely a power differential. What Lewinsky did was wrong for sure, but the way the media treated her at the time was an absolute disgrace, IMO.
I don’t think that’s right. Today, I think it is widely frowned upon behavior. But outside of possibly the military, I’m not aware of a single jurisdiction that regards an unequal power relationship as itself sufficient to vitiate consent to sex. It’s not even a civil wrong in the absence of some sort of adverse action.
ETA: What PJ said.
I don’t give a rat’s ass about the big-time media anymore.
When Dominion gets a couple of billion dollars from Fox in punitive damages is when the rubber hits the road.
@glory b: Thank you for saying this. She wasn’t some naive adolescent. She was a grown woman, graduated from college, who had already had an affair with a married professor while she was in college.
Your screed encapsulates my feelings pretty much perfectly. I would have swore I wrote it if I could string words together that well.
This is it. The top of the social hierarchy can do as it likes. The real crime is changing that arrangement.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Well, the Intercept (Ryan Grim), New York Magazine (Rebecca Traister) and MSNBC (Chris Hayes) tried it, but it didn’t take.
@Scout211: Depending on how you frame “power”, there will almost always be an unequal power relationship in any sexual relationship. One person will often have a higher salary, be better connected, be better looking, have higher social status, be more talented, be better educated, be more experienced, etc. By your standard, consent would only be possible with people who were identical in all respects.
never mind — question answered
@JMG: Wanna bet? I can see the headline now: BREAKING! Biden’s Affair Exposed: For this pro-abortion, supposed Catholic are there any of the 10 commandments he won’t break?
@glory b: Thank you. This is more in line with my recollections.
@PJ: I don’t agree. But hey, instead, take this to an editor in the ’90s:
… and you’ll still get the same answer! “What! But we have the opportunity to allude to blowjobs!”
He posts them as they happen. clicking the crime tag will take you to the rest.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
Of all the sensory delights that are out there that can please and delight our brains, fundamentalists focus strangely on sex.
You never see rotund preachers deny themselves the joys of whatever food they like, nor do they exhort their increasingly heavier congregations regarding their dining habits.
@Betty Cracker: What Clinton and Lewinsky did was criminally stupid, but it was not a crime. They were both consenting adults who knew exactly what they were doing.
I don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people do in their sex lives, and I have yet to be persuaded that anybody else should get bothered about it.
@Scout211: I cannot get behind such an extreme statement of the issue. It basically deprives large swaths of people of their agency to actually give consent.
I spent my career in the mental health field. I am commenting from a psychological perspective. And not all relationships, but workplace sexual relationships between a boss and subordinate. I agree there are differences in every relationship and not all are alike.
But I am not talking about the legal definition, just the psychology of affairs in the workplace between subordinates and bosses. YMMV
@Scout211: If it is impossible for a woman to truly consent to sex if there is any sort of significant power disparity between her and the man, then 90% of all sexual relationships are nonconsensual. Probably rising to 99.99% of all sexual relationships prior to the 21st century.
Jacqueline Squid Onassis
The embrace of anti-trans hysteria and propaganda by the mainstream media is caused by, in addition to their prudishness, the sexualization of women as a gender. Because they sexualize women and, to them, it’s really only trans women that exist, they also get to wallow in their own misogyny. It’s a combination that’s going to kill a lot of trans folks.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: And a propos of this post, Jake Tapper would not have a career if he had not gone on a date with Monica Lewinsky and written up an account of it after the scandal broke.
@PJ: I didn’t say it was a crime, but the behavior of both parties was wrong, and the gigantic power disparity between the two makes Clinton’s participation especially egregious, IMO. YMMV.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Thanks for pointing this out. And the accuser is now seen as an “expert” on policy in some circles. IIRC, she was an invited speaker at an anti-war rally some weeks ago. Really?
@PJ: Oh my — this really happened? There’s something deeply prudish about that too. Maybe it’s that all the gossips I’ve ever known were prudes.
Ok. But there’s a bit of a selection bias there, right? People who seek mental health help because of a sexual situation in the workplace are more likely to feel like they were pressured into it rather than freely consenting.
I don’t know, but I’d imagine most workplace relationships go unnoticed unless there’s an adverse employment action by the superior.
@Scout211: You’re conflating lack of consent with abuse of power.
The Moar You Know
@sab: i do wish this little fact made it into the discourse more. This wasn’t a one-time thing for some poor girl overwhelmed by the majesty of the office of the Presidency. We all have kinks, and hers is fucking married men and then talking about it in public.
Sadly, Dan has hindered that work, as well. He has a history of lashing out around Trans identity, documented per the article to the early 2000s, and stretching to his support of the anti-Trans Jesse Singal in 2021.
Dan’s done a lot of good work. But I would not align him with supporting Trans rights, save in the very abstract, and in extremely problematic ways.
And this is why all the Christian men’s attitudes about abortion is such bs. If they really had a “deeply-held religious belief” then they would be keeping their pants zipped and only having sex for procreation with their wife. But it is all about them doing as they like and control of others while using religion as their fig leaf.
@Betty Cracker: Agree with you. She was treated as a homewrecker and a slut by the media, and that was reprehensible.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
OT: Listening to the O’Bros podcast and they’re talking about Ron DeSantis’s recent fund-raiser disguised as some kind of conference, and panel discussions were titled according to buzzwords: Election Integrity, Border Security and Medical Authoritarianism. That last one is new to me. Anyone know what that means? When the government (Sammy Alito) doesn’t get to make your medical decisions?
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I assume vaccine mandates.
Probably they’ll ignore the anti-trans and abortion laws.
My M does not V here…. This is exactly my take.
Their relationship isn’t an issue of the law, but certainly wasn’t within the bounds of what I would consider ethical behavior/good judgment. I would like to think that the person we elect to the presidency has good enough judgment to head off potentially problematic situations before they start….. and banging a young intern who works for you (while married or not) is nothing but a potentially problematic situation.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Baud: of course! from people who almost all cheated the system to get their shots first. IIRC Uncle Rupert got his before Betty and Phil
Your source for this assertion that she talked about the prior affair regularly, and in some depth/need for attention? So far as I can tell, the teacher made a public announcement about the affair (along with some slurs towards Lewinsky) in 1998. She did not discuss it in any recorded form until a 2000 Interview on Larry King Live, per Wikipedia (who’s link to the source is dead). And at that time, she did not mention the teachers name, although he’d already announced.
So either this is one of those things that “everyone knows” save myself, or it’s got a source I cannot locate, or…well.
I’ll write separately on my opinions on this shitshow.
@Scout211: He was not her boss.
Can confirm. More specifically, either the Valley or the OC.
I agree with you there. He was stupid. But he shouldn’t have been impeached for it. And she shouldn’t be a celebrity on the strength of it.
ETA: I’d also repeat that “works for you” is stretching things a bit, as she did not work directly for him.
Yes, definitely. I saw the psychological damage in the aftermath and rarely the healthy relationships that developed.
HR departments are now writing into their codes of conduct ways to manage these unequal power sexual relations in the workplace to strike a balance between protecting the employees who feel pressured to consent and forbidding them totally. One way they are doing that is to require both parties to disclose the relationship immediately to their superiors. It’s a good option but many are formed in secret and the two parties have reasons to keep it secret.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@zhena gogolia: one of my pet theories is that the GOP saved Bubba by going for impeachment
To repeat what Betty C said above, Hillary was truly the only innocent party in all that and the fact that she was vilified is the greatest indictment of all.
Isn’t POTUS the ultimate boss over everyone who works in the White House, though? He has the most power in that workplace.
Again, just my opinion, and my opinion from a psychological perspective. YMMV
@Scout211: She sought him out. She didn’t work with him day to day.
So many shitshows, I’m not sure which one you’re referring to.
I seem to recall that Lewinsky was an adult and a volunteer. Some people, men and women, are attracted to power. It’s an aphrodisiac.
There were a lot of young women, seemingly an endless number, who had sex with John Kennedy. A few wrote memoirs. None have admitted regrets, although JFK’s charm seemed to hide a disregard of some women as anything more than a toy that he needed to play with.
The upper classes are often incredibly perverse, and pretend to represent upright moral values, and are shocked at the behavior of the lower classes, even as they sexually exploit them.
The prudishness seems fake and hypocritical. And totally inauthentic. And I don’t understand how some people can claim to accept gay people, but not trans people. And yes, I see some of these bigots coming for gay people as well. But I don’t know. There always seems to be a group who want to base their power on restoring order by means of scapegoating and oppressing a designated group of people. In exchange, the suckers who support them are fooled by a false promise that their lives will be better.
Not a minority opinion, but can be another kind of prudishness. People’s lives are complex.
That, and the fact that we did — as a country, and certainly as a mass media — utterly demolish someone, a Woman, for…what?
I can’t say I’m innocent of the sin of disliking Lewinsky at some point. I’m sure I’ve written or said some stupid shit about her.
But I’d like to think we’ve grown past the need to, well, slut shame people for liking sex, esp. when young. Yeah, I read and hear her talk on how the waves of just utterly toxic and fucking ugly attention hammered her, and Lewinsky did not deserve that.
She made a mistake. That mistake should never have been so much as to trash her life in this ongoing way. And the people here who talk as if having an affair with a married man was just some thing, and she’s unworthy of basic dignity as a result…y’all deeply worry me.
We treat Lewinsky with less dignity than Stormy Daniels, and I don’t say that to trash sex workers, but to point out the rank hypocrisy of the matter, the buying in to right-wing and anti-Women framing about these situations. (ETA: Yes, I know there are differences, most notably age and POTUS status when the incidents occurred. But y’all should know what I mean…)
Both Women deserve the right to have a fuckin’ life, in all senses of the term.
Oh, lordy, are we talking about The Clinton Wars again? Really?
Bill Clinton was eminently bangable while he was President. If I had worked anywhere near him, the only thing that would have stopped me from making a play for him was the fact that he was married – and, to be extremely honest, when I was in my 20s, that was less of a factor than it should have been.
Never mind that, the latest Biden scandal is Rigatonigate.
@Baud: I had always wished Hillary had told the Secret Service to keep all females under 50 or 60 completely out of Bill’s orbit! Matter of National Security and all that jazz!
Paul in KY
@leeleeFL: Pretty sure my female elementary PE teacher was gay. She was religious, though, and I don’t know if she was ever able to have a real love life. I hope she did, though.
The media crucified HRC for Bill Clinton’s affairs. In that entire sordid saga which lead to the impeachment of Bill Clinton she was wronged more than either Bill or Monica.
@schrodingers_cat: But the media hated her before the Lewinsky affair, at least going back to when she tried to introduce health care reform. Bill’s infidelities just gave them more ammunition against both of them.
Biden is trying to distract us from Hunter’s laptop. Don’t fall for it!!!
@Betty Cracker: NO! This is part of the framing that worked so effectively. She was NOT an intern at the time of the affair. She had been one using that to get the job.
But sex with an intern is so much more salacious than sex with a staff member.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@PJ: they hated her before the election, Tammy Wynette standin’ by your man, stay home and bake cookies, “Lady MacBeth in a headband” came from the left as I recall
IIRC, the job also wasn’t in the White House. Defense Department?
They hated Hillary, then as now, because she knew exactly what they were up to and said so.
The MSM hated (and hates) her for the same reason. She knew they were part of the RW con, and said so.
FWIW, I don’t think journalists and pundits are prudish, per se. What they see as acceptable has changed as popular opinion on what is acceptable has changed over the course of my life.
But I think they absolutely do see themselves as gatekeepers as to what is politically and socially acceptable, including sexual behavior. And, at this particular time, because of who they are and how they were able to get the jobs they have, they happen to be politically and socially more conservative than the rest of the country. They promote right wing framing not just because they are addicted to the horse-race/both-sides balance, but because they actually are conservative, and even if they aren’t as right wing as Ron de Santis, his viewpoint appeals to them. Jake Tapper doesn’t defend Fox News just because they have “news” in their name, he defends them because his own viewpoint is Republican.
The other thing they get off on is being morally superior scolds, and nothing lets them do that more than telling other people that how they live their personal lives is wrong.
White House Office of Legislative Affairs was her paid job, according to the WaPo.
@PJ: They did. They gave Trump a pass for all his sexual harassment, rapes and infidelities but crucified HRC for her husband’s improprieties.
They othered Teresa Heinz Kerry because she was not born in the US but nary a peep from them about Melania.
The MSM hates Democrats because they are a party of non-white people and other minorities and white folks who are not bigots.
Rs on the other hand are the party of white supremacy and white privilege and our media sides with them no matter which 3rd rate wannabe fascist they throw up as their nominee
Media and idiots always blame the women. They are failing in some way if they cannot keep their man. And there were some pathetic people who insisted that Hillary should have left Bill once she found out about his affairs.
But Bill was always a horn dog.
There’s where I want to sign up. The media, the Congress, everyone dragging her name into something that was none of their got tammed business. I also resent the president’s choice to lie about it, which was a stupid gift to the rabid right. But all of those people who stood up and said, “oh the internet is dirty, must censor everything” and then said “oh lets put this private sexual matter all over the dam internet”… near destroying her life, and did they suffer any consequence for this? Ya right.
I still wish Bill had had the guts to say “this is none of your business, nobody’s busines but me, her, & my wifes, go stuff it.”
@Scout211: Somebody moved her from Legislative Affairs to the Pentagon because they thought she was too obsessed with Clinton. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/lewprofile.htm
It’s interesting to read this breathless profile from 1998 – it’s like it was written for Tiger Beat. I don’t know where the writer, Jeff Leen, went to, but there’s a spot open for him at Politico.
@Brachiator: I was talking about the race between Hillary and Trump. Do you remember the debate when he had in the audience women who had affairs with Bill Clinton
Media may or may not be prudish, they are pro-Republican.
Paul in KY
@glory b: She sure wanted it, but there was a power imbalance and Pres. Horny should have smiled and sent her on her merry way and then instructed staff to never let her within 30 feet of him.
Hindsight and all that….
@CODave: I’ll take your word for that but disagree on relevance. The coverage was salacious because the POTUS had an affair with a 22-year-old woman who was not his wife. The media frenzy was gross. The impeachment trial was a hypocritical joke. But the power differential was grotesque regardless of whether Lewinsky was an intern or a low-level staffer.
And if Hillary had left him, the media would have gone after her for getting a divorce. She knew she was in a no-win situation.
They’re also weirdly nostalgic, even the ones who arent that old.
Here’s former Balloon Juice “Marxist” Freddie deBoer telling younger people to get off his lawn while he invents a perfect past that just happens to coincide with when he was young and cool:
And of course the now-obligatory “wah wah wah, I hate woke young people, my social justice was BETTER” :
It’s bizarre. They’re like 70 year old 40 year olds. My 93 year old father was more open minded and current than these people. de Boer has a whole cheering section the comments too. “Oooooh, I miss Bill Clinton TOO and poor me, boo hoo I was a LATCHKEY kid unlike these spoiled zoomers”
Just gross. Grow up, indeed.
Yep. And some fools insisted that the fact that she didn’t leave him “proved” that she was just staying with him to further his or her political career.
Clinton enemies could hate them no matter what they did.
Paul in KY
@Suzanne: No shit.
Paul in KY
@jonas: At that mall in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
And at Ridgemont High, of course.
Trump invited some of the women who claimed that Bill Clinton had harmed them, not his happy mistresses.
Times have changed. The media used to keep quiet about the moral failings of most politicians. But they had it in for Republican Nelson Rockefeller in the 60s because he had been divorced.
Feminists were…. better too, back when these people were young.
UNCOMPLICATED, unlike the demanding 20 year old women of today.
Also- can we stop saying young people aren’t having sex? It’s bullshit as anyone who actually has contact with them can tell you. They answered a fucking POLL on whether theywere having sex and every media moron announced it was definitive and I would bet 50 dollars that they did not answer it seriously because they do not take old people seriously. And they shouldn’t. We’ve become clowns who are nostalgiac ninnies.
They’re having sex. I don’t think my 20 year old and all his friends are that far outside the norm. That they don’t blather on emdlessly about having sex is to their credit, IMO.
$8 blue check mistermix
I had a horrible four letter word starting with “w” distract me, but wanted to weigh in on a couple of things:
Dr. Ruth was a pioneer too, didn’t mean to omit her.
I know that Dan Savage has a complicated relationship with the trans community but overall I’d class him as an advocate with some flaws. I say this as someone who knows trans folk through my daughter, one of whose struggles I’ve seen first hand, and I am here to tell you the trans people I know need all the advocates they can get, even if they have a few flaws.
Finally, it is so clear to me that some of you haven’t worked in a modern workplace. I had a leadership position where I (early-50’s at the time) was the oldest person in the room most of the time. Those 20-somethings have a *totally* different expectation of workplace behavior vis-à-vis sexual harassment. Any relationship between me and a 20-something would have been considered non-consensual by them, and, more importantly, by the HR department, no matter the circumstances. There’s no escape clause even if the 20-something pursued the relationship, or if she was an intern or an employee. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the right way to look at it.
Sister Golden Bear
I like Lewinsky and I don’t mean to come off as slut-shaming. But I had a friend who attend the same high school, and at the time Lewinsky was known for going after and sleeping with popular local figures while in high school. So trying to seduce Clinton was completely in character for her at the time. And yes, she was treated absolutely disgracefully by the media.
$8 blue check mistermix
@Kay: God damn, I thought I was full up on reasons to dislike Freddie, but I guess I need to put 90s nostalgia in my already-full grudge carrier where that asshole is concerned.
@Kay: Yeah, time marches on and things change-always have, always will; hardly worth the continued droning from the usual crowd. It’s a big, wonderful world out there-do these folks really have nothing better to do? The majority of people try to deal with changes as best they can rather than constantly worshiping the past or drawing attention to themselves over things that are inevitable.
If Bill was a rockstar president, Monica was a groupie. Star-struck, bedazzled star-fucker.
Repeat offender. We’ve all been there. Let me tell you about my nights with a certain raven-haired singer.
@Kay: I have tried not to read anything Freddie de Boer has written since he left these hallowed pages. But one thing that struck me when he was here was that his opinions, and writing, were all centered around himself and his personality issues. He couldn’t take any criticism whatsoever. He rejected addressing points that commenters brought up and could not discuss arguments dispassionately. It was as if other viewpoints or experiences had no legitimacy, and any criticisms were all just personal attacks on him.
Even though he presented his politics as left-wing (and I guess he still does), his mindset was entirely conservative – the unwillingness to see that someone else’s point of view might have some validity.* It was all about himself and his ego. So it’s no surprise that he ended up the way he is now.
*The hallmark of a conservative for me is that only their personal problems are real. Anybody else’s problems are just whining or are made up. So, for example, they only care about gay rights when they find out one of their children is gay. Being called a racist is much worse than actual racism, because they will never be subject to racism.
Agreed on both counts.
I just want to be able to be nuanced about it. Impeachment was ridiculous, but it also wasn’t really behavior I consider responsible.
@$8 blue check mistermix: At the company I work for, we have yearly training about inappropriate behavior to include sexual harassment and the like. Have also worked at places where it was specifically pointed out that relationships between leadership employees and subordinates were a no go.
@Sister Golden Bear: I got the impression that Lewinsky’s family, though well-off, was troubled, and that her mother placed disproportionate value on appearance. I assume that Lewinsky’s learning curve after 1998 was steep and painful, but I cannot see her conduct solely in terms of power dynamics. That power dynamic is there — she wasn’t “naturally” attracted to Clinton — she was attracted to his power, which he then abused, because I totally agree that he should have known better. It still makes me angry to think about it. However, since it is usually women who are on the underside of the power imbalance, the extreme view espoused above can be used to justify social controls on women, because they are in need of protection, and incapable of being independent actors in their own lives. If Ken Starr had not gotten hold of Monica Lewinsky and used her abominably as he did, with all the awful fall out for her life, I doubt if Monica Lewinsky would have viewed what happened between her and Bill Clinton as anything other than a funny story.
Sister Golden Bear
@$8 blue check mistermix: Prudishness may play a part of it, but it goes far deeper than that. At its core is the belief that LGBTQ+ people are an affront to God and nature, and simply shouldn’t exist — whether the haters and the media consciously acknowledge it.
For example, Jesse “I’m just asking questions” Singal, one of the worst journalists enabled by the FTFNYT and others has made it abundantly clear in his reporting that the only “good” outcome for trans kids is for them to become not-trans. This has a long-sordid history, and years past was also the attitude towards gay kids — especially femmy gay boys.
It’s notable that the anti-trans vitriol is almost one-sidedly focused on trans girls/woman. Trans boys/men are routinely ignored, or only mentioned in passing.
That’s because misogyny is probably the biggest driver. The notion that people living as men would voluntary surrender their privileges to live as women is extremely threatening to the worldview of many cis people, both men and women. Especially conservatives with rigid notions of how life “should” be, but also many otherwise liberal-leaning folks.
TERFism is driven by the idea that (white, middle-class) women are the ultimate victims. (It’s not coincidence that the UK breeding grounds for TERFism have been online communities for new mothers — a time when many women feel isolated, overwhelmed and vulnerable.) Trans women wanting to live as women completely breaks that “woe is me” worldview.
My friend wants to know why the fuck she kept the damn dress AND then told others about that. THAT was the key, in many ways. You wanna keep a souvenir? Sure. But to tell Lucienne Goldberg about it? WTF? Also, when questioned, she could have said it was no one’s business.
@Scout211: Sorry, but I call BS on this. Relationship issues are complex; you cannot make a blanket statement like that one. As they said, Lewinsky was open about how she pursued Clinton. She wasn’t a victim of anything except her own bad judgment.
@$8 blue check mistermix:
It is a truth to be universally acknowledged that people who want to fuck each other finds ways to fuck each other.
Sister Golden Bear
@Barbara: Yes, that’s pretty much the case. A better way of framing her high school behavior was that she was chasing powerful figures.
@$8 blue check mistermix:
HR can set whatever policies it wants for its business. In the broader world, absence of consent means a crime has been committed.
@Betty Cracker: the context to me was this was after a huge amount of time and money was spent trying to nail Clinton for somehow being corrupt over Whitewater a deal they LOST money on where it had already been shown the public that the republicans were willing to try to blackmail by jail sentences people who testified to things that they didn’t want to hear. In other words lie the way we want or go to jail. Consequently, I and many people flat out didn’t believe the story when it came out because of who were supporting it. It wasn’t the usual don’t believe the woman.
in addition, while Bill is now much later in a different time, considered to have compromised too much, at that time democrats were losing more and more elections and republicans were undoing all kinds of things we thought were safe, chiefly womens rights and environmental protection. He had vetoed several things I considered protecting women so even though he turned out to be personally a predator, I am glad he got elected and would have voted for him again. I also think he had better political instincts than Gore.
I also remember interviews with Lewinsky and relative’s or people who knew her. She was just as much a cheater as Bill and not too young to know better. I remember forming the impression that her mother and aunt encouraged her and thought she could actually get Bill to divorce Hillary and marry her. Unrealistic upbringing.
But the press and the republicans really misjudged the public who really already knew about affairs and did not want to hear about this one form the party of waste millions trying way too hard to make a scandal for a president in the other party because we have decided to never accept losing an election again. Really, it was clear then they had gone round a bend. They made me a lot more partisan anyway but not in their favor.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
And to get Bubba and Lewinsky and Betty Currie into positions where they had to be sworn in and talk to lawyers, Susan Carpenter MacMillan (a human parade float from Beverly Hills, for those who don’t remember) was manipulating Paula Jones to change her story, and her lawyers, and her lawsuit.
and then the people like Ann Coulter and Bert Kavanaugh and George Conway (!) whom Coulter referred to as “the little elves in Santa Starr’s workshop”. Almost like there was some meeting of the minds, or…
@Baud: Universities police it and some prohibit it. Doctors can’t have sexual relationships with patients. Neither can therapists. And there are probably other entities with codes of ethics that either police of forbid sex where there is an unequal power differential.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Right; thanks for the correction. ETA: To this day, I don’t know why people didn’t just shut up and say none of your damn business.
@Princess: Yes, the behavior can get you fired, and perhaps cost you your license in certain professions. I think the therapist/patient situation may also be a rare example where “consent” cannot be given and you can get your prosecuted or, at a minimum, subject to civil damages. But most workplaces aren’t subject to those disciplinary actions except perhaps being let go.
@Baud: In the context of the work world, there are many reasons why a business would discourage if not prohibit relationships between those with positions of authority and underlings, especially interns or other entry level hires. For one thing, the feeling that your office is a sexual free for all disrupts whatever process is in place to try to ensure advancement based on merit, alienates other employees, and leads to allegations of discrimination or retaliation from both those who are part of and those who are not part of such liaisons.
Those issues have nothing to do with legal consent — a woman can legally consent to sexual relationships even if both she and the man involved are showing extremely poor judgment. I really, really hate the infantilization of women that comes with seeing these relationships as lacking consent. It is just so pernicious.
Sister Golden Bear
@Sister Golden Bear: Also too… it’s notable that one of the favorite religious anti-trans arguments is that “God doesn’t make mistakes and therefore modifying your body is an affront to God.” Which obviously overlooks a host of things from getting Lasik to breast implants. Not to mention the frequent and non-consensual practice of “fixing” intersex infants.
So it’s not about what we’re doing with our bodies in the bedroom, it’s again about “violating” the gender binary. I didn’t say “sex binary” (although that’s usually what they’re referring to) because 1) there’s at least six genetic sex variations, and 2) the haters are really referring to gender anyway.
In part I think they’re especially horrified by the idea that trans woman among them who “pass” as cisgender could be walking among them unbeknownst. It’s at the heart of the “trans panic” defense that’s still legal in most states — the notion that a man was so horrified discovering that a woman was trans, especially if they’d been intimate, that he was justified in killing her! This was a widespread attitude, think of all the “OMG she’s a dude” tropes that were, and still are, common in the media. From The Crying Game to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective to cite two notorious examples.
Though the flip side is that the Southern states most actively trying to persecute trans people are also the ones with the highest percentage consumption of trans (women) pron. Which itself is one of the most popular subgenres overall. So there’s definitely an aspect of “trans women give me an awkward boner, and I don’t like that” involved — not just among conservatives but a much wider circle of men.
Now that’s just bullshit. And it continues to bug me that there’s never been the least bit of media outrage at Ken Starr for outing Monica Lewinsky. Instead, they continued to cover him as if he were a person worthy of respect.
The one thing she’ll be known for, for her entire life, is for giving Bill Clinton some blowjobs. And there’s not a damned thing she can do about it.
When I was her age, I made more than one bad decision about who I could trust.
IIRC, Starr’s henchmen threatened her with a long stretch in prison.
@Barbara: Right. I’m not interested in being the language police, but “consent” is the key fact in separating private adult behavior which almost all of us support almost all of the time, and a pretty heinous crime. So I prefer that we not use the term loosely.
Sister Golden Bear
@Princess: The military has long had rules against romantic and/or sexual relationships between officers and enlisted personnel because of the power differential.
@Marmot: Kroq would like a word…
@Sister Golden Bear:
We haven’t had a good infant circumcision debate in a long time.
I agree. It’s why he was so easily taken in by the cancel culture panic. They are quite literally DEMANDING that everything and everyone return to the norms, behaviors and activities that were current when they – as individuals- were in college .
“A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop” except it’s not even as big or universal as that- they miss shopping malls and, I don’t know, “grunge”, their boring as shit minor pop culture which everyone has but no one else turns into a Culture.
I feel like Sinema is the perfect represetative of these people. She’s quirky clothing and an attitude. She USES quirky clothing and an attitude to cover the fact that she has no actual personality or beliefs.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
LOL! That made reading this entire thread worth it. ;-)
One nice thing about Murdoch’s admissions: TFG is seething about it.
It would seem Rupert has decided he no longer needs to fear Trump.
@Suzanne: um she was a home wrecker and a slut. So is Bill. And to a degree he was treated like that and Hillary actually got some sympathy. That was justified. What wasn’t was going on and on about it, or falling for the republican set up.
I hated the coverage. So entertainment tonight or Hollywood reporter. They should have done more follow the money on how hard the republicans had had to look to find anything etc.
I am not sympathetic to either adulterer.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I hope Linda Tripp is burning in whatever you might think hell is. What she did to Lewinsky is unforgivable
ETA – the best book I read about the whole Clinton saga was “The Hunting of the President”, by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, especially because Gene Lyons knew a lot about Arkansas politics, and detailed how Clinton’s enemies in Arkansas followed him to D.C. and stirred up trouble for him there. They were part of getting Jones to change her story from “I was so excited to be Clinton’s girlfriend” to “That mean man sexually abused me”.
Stirring the hornets nest, or is this more late 90s nostalgia?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
OT: In which Matt Gaetz steps hard on a rake, in public and on camera
When I read the Murdoch thing I thought about John Kerry’s campaign and how Kerry bought ad time on our local (all) Right wing radio stations and one of the far Right “personalities” on the morning radio show would do “funny” commentary all thru Kerry’s ads. They fucking rob their customers, these people. Murdoch steals from the people who pay his family. Degenerates.
Sorry but no Democrat should advertise on Fox. They’re taking your money and laughing at you.
@MisterDancer: it was known around the time of the scandal. My recollection is that people who had known Lewinsky reported it. Reporters went and asked people from her past. Although my recollection had been it was a high school teacher, so that was wrong. It used to be in her Wikipedia article too which I looked up a few years ago.
@ian: The 90s were better. They just were. We had Usenet instead of Twitter. And the government won its antitrust suit against Internet explorer. Today we have tech titans. I am not a crank.
Boy-howdy! If anyone was the unqualified and utter villain of the whole story, it was Linda Tripp!
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
That can limit professional opportunities for women. Also, too, Mike Pence won’t work alone with a woman and a lot of people look at that as his personal failing. I know I do.
@Barbara: I’m skeptical she was not naturally attracted to Clinton because I was around her age, and I sure was at the time. And while I don’t see him as a harasser or manipulative, he sure banged everything he could that smiled at him sideways. Clinton had a real problem with women.
One of Freddies commentors (the only one who doesn’t heap praise on him) tells Freddie that since Freddie lives in Brooklyn Freddie CAN actually go to a record store, but like with David Brooks, that would ruin Freddies essay with…reality so Freddie responds “no”.
I bet he never went to a record store.
Sister Golden Bear
Well you see that’s natural not some form of gender confirmation, like those icky trans people. /s
@Kay: I get feelings like deBoer is expressing there, that the second half of the 1990s were basically a golden age before everything went to shit, but guess what: at the end of the 1990s I was a young adult seeking my fortune in the world and had fallen in love for the first time. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out how I’m going to feel about that era.
And I was a straight white guy with an upper-middle-class background and good career prospects once I got out into the private sector. While the prosperity of the late Clinton era did reach the lower quintiles to some degree, not everyone was in that boat.
Also the early 1990s SUCKED. Things didn’t really improve until after about 1995 and it was really a brief halcyon era even to the extent it was one.
…Also I have some guilt dating from that time: the thing about the social pathologies of the Internet is, in the 1990s I was kinda sorta one of the people helping to create them.
The Moar You Know
@Kay: I was there. It wasn’t.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
@The Moar You Know: The 90s certainly were better. My mommy took care of me and I didn’t have to drive myself anywhere.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
and I was a lot younger, don’t forget that part
and Donald Trump was dodging bankruptcy and on some kind of court-ordered allowance from his family, IIRC
@MisterDancer: the internet can be a pile on that magnifies so that a mistake that might result in oh 10 people telling you, you did wrong results in hundreds. Doing it with the President of the United States is an unfathonable abyss of shouting. I do think what she did is wrong and I say that mostly thinking of an example to my younger nephews (no girls this generation but I would certainly tell the. If there were). But more than enough people have told Lewinsky herself really. We should only be talking for ourselves, not her.
I was really mad at Bill because he put his ability to protect my rights at risk by thinking with his penis. It made me not tolerant of say Edwards later on, you know? Politics.
@MisterDancer: Thank you for that. I had a vague memory of him being problematic on Trans issues but was too lazy to look for receipts.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: So glad these clowns keep getting called out. Doubt the GOP have realized yet that these hearings aren’t going to be the slam dunk they thought and they should keep in mind: “Always better to keep silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubts.”
@Princess: I have no real idea, but it also seems that she reserved her attraction for men who also held power. I am not condemning her — in the scheme of things, I don’t think what she did was more wrong because the object of her affection was the president. Even on the adultery front, it was Clinton who took vows to his wife, not Lewinsky. So from that perspective, from cheating on his wife, putting his presidency at risk and not prioritizing his commitment to those who voted and worked for him — Clinton is way more blameworthy than the intern. I just don’t look at it terms of legal consent. She was an adult in full command of all the facts that mattered here. Clinton did not retaliate against her in any way. It only became a legal issue well after it had actually occurred.
@$8 blue check mistermix:
In your version young women have no agency. It’s impossible for them to choose a relationship for their own reasons. Presumably a twenty something cannot be mature enough to go with eyes wide open into a relationship with a powerful man? Speaking as someone with 4 twenty something daughters although one is just about to age out to 30. Not buying it. Sexual harassment is real. Using power to pressure others into sex is real. However you go too far claiming it’s impossible for a workplace relationship to be ethical if one person is more powerful than the other.
@Kay: I bet Brooks has never been to an Applebee’s, so that tracks.
In other words, Freddie started his 40’s.
@Baud: I spent a lot of time on 1990s Usenet and the way I remember it is, we had this sort of learned shrugging tolerance for a lot of conservative/libertarian bullshit that would get people on any liberal blog or lefty social media community screaming today. I think a lot of our irritation for the current landscape comes from standards having risen.
People get upset by the seeming degeneration of “skeptic community” figures like Richard Dawkins, but I recall some of the big figures on sci.skeptic back in the day spent a lot of their time bashing feminists, and sometimes insisting that race/IQ inequality was just science and skepticism of that was “liberal creationism”. It was a very white male world and people let you know it. A lot of the Gamergate/Sad Puppies style backlash in the run-up to Trump happened because people were upset about non-white-males invading their little nerd communities, especially online.
Came here to say that I’ll be interested to see if the 1A “Week in the News” program on Friday will mention any of this about Dominion and Fox News. They have steadfastly refused to mention anything about it the past two Fridays, so I doubt this week will be any different. It’s disgusting how all the reporters will probably continue to treat Fox “News” like a real news organization rather than the propaganda arm of the Republican Party they actually are.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
This is a pretty common position in workplace sexual harassment training. Even if you, as the manager, can set aside your feelings and make the right decisions for the workplace; the fact of that relationship still calls your actions into question.
Say you promote your eminently qualified love interest. If people simply know about the relationship, anyone denied the better job can use that against you and your love interest. It’s disruptive to the workplace. Some places won’t even let siblings work together at the same skill level in different departments.
…I remember there was this document called the “net.legends FAQ” that described some of the more colorful/deranged/irritating figures that inhabited Usenet of the era, but the thing that haunts me now is that one of the wacky eccentrics described there was just… a trans man who was pissed off at people misgendering him and using his deadname. That was it.
@Scout211: The point is that it is one she could have completely avoided had she chosen to. Power dynamics will never be 100% equal in any relationship. She was told to stay away from the area or risk her internship ending.
I agree with the power dynamic. but she was an adult, full grown and (although was and seems to remain incredibly immature) had agency here.
The short video clip of her in a crowd grabbing Bill and hugging him (she had on the infamous beret) was because White House aides were not allowing her in the Oval area and she had no other way to see him.
@delphinium: Vote Vets, a group of more liberal veterans, has a campaign going now to get FOX off of military bases. My husband just remarked that he’ll be sending them more money.
@PJ: I agree, he must have taken leave of his senses. He put the future of his presidency in the hands of a 22 year old who acted like a 16 year old.
@glory b: Arguably, the White House staff were remiss in permitting her to have greater access than she was supposed to — the White House is an area of extreme security, and the president as well as intelligence is presumed to be vulnerable to incursion. Telling her that she would lose her internship if she kept showing up in areas that were off limits was the appropriate response to someone who kept intentionally breaking the rules.
Boy howdy, if this isn’t grounds for impeachment….
Not just her hands.
Paul in KY
@Soprano2: Linda Tripp will always be remembered for John Goodman’s epic portrayals of her. Ha fucking ha!
@Marmot: There is also the problem of coworkers who find out and are convinced that someone is receiving better treatment because of a personal relationship.
And once one person knows, they will all know.
I’m 60, a midwestern grandmother, a “team player” Party person Democrat (so not a poseur ‘Marxist”) and I admit I am fairly conventional and and these people are much older than I am. They’re stodgy. Brittle.
@The Kropenhagen Interpretation:
I agree it is generally unwise and often unethical for the person with power to pursue a subordinate. I resist the absolute though that it is never possible. The reverse is not necessarily true so it can’t be the case that a twenty something can never be in a relationship with a more powerful person. They get a say don’t they? If not they have no will of their own to exercise since they have been defined out of the ability to choose.
@Sister Golden Bear:
Culturally, men are afraid of social outcasting and physical violence if they demonstrate what might even be suspected as homosexuality. Hell, as insufficient sexual success. It’s one of the primary tenets of toxic masculinity. This has faded a lot, but it used to be near-universal. It certainly was in the 80s, when I grew up. As a trans woman, I am sure you have seen a whole lot of that dynamic. Even beyond being misogynistic assholes, it drives a lot of these guys to absolute insanity on the topic.
James E Powell
They absolutely were better. I had a full head of dark brown hair & I weighed 190 no matter what or how much I ate.
Given that the guy she had an affair with back in school talked trash about her to the media (see my previous comment w/source link), you’ll forgive me if I don’t give these purported (and poorly reported) rumors of her being a loudmouth about her affairs in general a lot of credence.
After all, as the scandal’s Wikipedia page points out it was Linda Tripp who told Lewinsky to “keep the dress” — that wasn’t Lewinsky’s first instinct! Tripp then, upon someone else’s advice, started recording their convos in secret and sending them to Starr, starting that whole ordeal. So far as I’m aware, no one else came forward to say Lewinsky had told them directly about her affair with Clinton — given the scope and media focus, I would be shocked if Lewinsky was that much a braggart, and no one else called her out!
Sure Lewinsky should have told no one. But I remember hearing some of those tapes, and she did not sound like someone bragging about the situation. I recall that, even then, it was known she went to Tripp because she felt she was in over her head in some fashion.
But I might be biased, to be sure. I sure as hell don’t think an error — a lapse of ethical judgement — like this deserves this much ongoing defaming of someone’s character.
Paul in KY
@glory b: He, like too many other men and also me at times, was thinking with his wrong head.
I agree with your account of what happened. Very clear summary.
Agree with you again. Well said.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
You’d be crying too, if you’d squeezed your bespoke clutching pearls hard enough to embed them in your metacarpals…
@Brachiator: I hope I am not defaming Lewinsky, but to a certain extent, and maybe because it was basically unavoidable, she seems to have made a career out of what happened in 1998. If you want others to move on, maybe you need to move on yourself. But again, the level of notoriety perhaps makes that virtually impossible.
Totally O/T, but I haven’t seen this brought up yet.
Another Chotiner masterpiece
America has always been a bunch of under-sexed, way-too-horny prudes. We’re too easily turned on and then embarrassed about being sexual beings. Some of this is the predominant American version of Chrisianity which hates women, hates sex, and professes to hate anything kinkier than lights out missionary.
RE: the media – I know there’s been some super prudish content floating around on Twitter lately (like the post about it being bad to watch fictional characters be intimate because the fictional characters haven’t expressly given permission to be viewed – wut?). The media likes to have their cake & eat it too – use sex & the hint of sex to sell all manner of products and attract viewers, but then never deliver.
@Nelle: That is good to hear. There is little justification for continuing to have Fox news on the tvs there given how much of their content is anti-American.
I don’t get that, but I have not really followed her life after the Clinton years. Given the US media’s love of hypocrisy and prudery, it would be hard for a person linked to a presidential scandal to lead any kind of quiet life.
One of the things I’ve noticed about much of the media is how they reflexively accept the prudish framing that a children’s book with a mommy and daddy is normal and apolitical, but the same book with two daddies is not just “political advocacy”, but “sexual”. Like the very existence of LGBTQ people is sexually explicit, no matter if it is a middle aged lesbian driving to the farmer’s market, its still somehow “sexual” and therefore inappropriate for children.
@gwangung: JoeMyGod website keeps track of those convicted of child sexual assualt. I’ve yet to see a drag queen listed among them.
It was SO much fun in the 90s helplessly watching my friends die from AIDS.
AIDS Timeline: By 1994, AIDS became the leading cause of death for all Americans ages 25-44 years old.
@Baud: You laugh, but there’s an entire complex about this on the right.
They call it involuntary male genital mutilation, and it’s supposed to be some nefarious component of some sinister something or other.
I have a (gay) friend who caught it just late enough that there were meds that kept him alive until much better meds were invented. I am so grateful he made it to that point.
Jeff Leen is still at the Post, currently assistant managing editor in charge of the “Investigative Unit.” He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer in 1999 for an examination of police shootings.
@Anoniminous: I worked in Guerneville from 1985 to the early 90’s- it was grief piled on top of grief. My dearest darling boy Thomas Healy died in 1996 and fresh hot tears are still on tap thinking of him now.
Humans being human means that they have desires to go along with all the other bits and pieces of life as a human. But humanity has worked for eons to hide a lot of those bits and pieces. And as much as so many people want to fit in, first they have to understand themselves to have any idea where they fit in. And for centuries now we, human beings have tried really hard to fit into set categories of who and what we are, set behaviors, limits, lines that can’t be crossed because that would upset some mystical non being. Of which there are literally different ideas/ideals for seemingly everyone. So when one tries to stuff themselves into some category based upon some very limited viewpoint it creates all kinds of mental gymnastics trying to live in a world that makes no sense. And of course for so many we rely on a lot of versions of books thousands of year old that are taken as the final word of some mythical man like persona that sees and knows all when everyone else knows doodly squat. If sex wasn’t pleasurable we would have devolved into goo on the ground eons ago, knowledge would have stalled out at “What mythical creature made heat and light?”
Not sure I buy the prude theory. The media is more like a bunch of Heathers who set arbitrary standards for the sake of having arbitrary standards that allow them to feel superior to the people they report on. That includes adopting contrarian positions that give legitimacy to the opinions of ignoramuses in diners in Trumpistan. The ivy league media types didn’t like Clinton because he was a hick from Arkansas who dared not to not let go of his roots but still was smarter then them, thus daring to be superior to them. That’s a mortal sin. The Lewinsky stuff was just convenient to tear him down with, they didn’t really give a shit about the behavior itself.
By your standard, consent would only be possible with people who were identical in all respects.
So you are saying that the only ethical sex is gay sex? Interesting.
BTW I believe that only using logic you are correct. Adding humanity in there throws a huge wrench into it.
@Ruckus: I have heard of people who sincerely believed that, with more or less that reasoning–heterosexuality just involves too much of a power imbalance.
@ian: Wow, I’ll have to read this when I have time. Sachs is worse than I knew.
@Subsole: Is it a right-wing thing? I never got the impression that opposition to routine infant circumcision was particularly partisan, though I can imagine antisemites having a particular complex about it.
It’s generally more the attitude that, yeah, there are marginal hygenic/medical justifications for it, but we don’t usually cut off healthy parts of people’s bodies just for that kind of reason. I was leaning toward not getting it done when we had a baby, but circumstances rendered the question moot.
@Splitting Image: Clinton’s crime was being a Democrat after Nixon. They knew they couldn’t impeach Carter, so they impeached Clinton. They were determined to find anything at all to hang a case on…
If it wasn’t the lying about the infidelity stuff it would have been the “wag the dog” stuff or something else (like if the Marc Rich pardon was known about earlier, they would have tried to go after him for that). The GQPers were determined they were going to find something so that a Democrat would be impeached (or forced to resign).
@leeleeFL: Goddammit. On first read I thought you said
@Betty Cracker: +1
Clinton set himself up for blackmail or worse. “Oooh! I couldn’t resist this 22 year old woman!!” Yeah, give me a break. :-/
If/when the news came out, or rumors about it came out, it starts fitting into the “hostile work environment” stuff (with people second-guessing whether they’re not getting the regard and respect they deserve because they’re not putting out for the boss, all the bad feelings, etc., etc.).
As Commander in Chief, he should have taken (and taken to heart) SAPR training. (Though, maybe it didn’t exist then – but something like it did.)
If Clinton didn’t have the stupid affair, then Gore probably wouldn’t have felt the need to run away from him. No Lieberman, either, maybe. A different world…
@narya: Well, not only that, but married couples had…twin beds…clear up into the Fifties, if I remember correctly (did Rob and Laura Petrie sleep in twin beds? I’m hazy on that…)
I always thought “Official Washington” hated Bill Clinton because he was the living embodiment of the meritocracy and American Dream they pretend to believe in. Someone who was born poor but smart and determined, and managed to rise from Arkansas hick to the top of American society through hard work and genuine talent. They all love to tell that story as the ideal of What Makes America Great, but most of them don’t live up to it – they are where they are because they inherited everything, not because they worked for it – and it makes them uncomfortable when somebody who actually walked the walk ends up in their social circle.
Even then, being self-made isn’t unforgivable, but it’s supposed to be done in a certain way. People like Bill Clinton are supposed to be the elites’ Hick Best Friends, defending their privilege as deserved and well-earned, admonishing any plebs who want something from them as jealous and lazy, and telling a lot of folksy parables full of Southernisms and Bible quotes whose moral is that we should admire the rich for being so awesome. Instead, he was a liberal. A class enemy. Sure, he was a nineties liberal, but that’s still unforgivable by their standards.
(All of this, by the way, is why Official Washington went ga-ga over George W. Bush. They wanted somebody with all the folksy mannerisms of Bill Clinton, but the politics and pedigree of George HW Bush. Dubya gave it to them in spades).
When I was six or seven I had my tonsils out and the kid I shared a room with was the same age and getting a circumcision. Boy did his parents try way too damn hard to convince him it was the greatest thing since chocolate milk and cookies. That afternoon when we both were back in the room and woken up from the ether I thanked everyone I’d ever known that my parents had the grace to do that to me as a newborn. I believe that started him on a lifetime of hate and loathing for his parents. Tell your kids the truth, be honest with them, it’s far, far better in the long run. And no it does seem to be another thing that is done to kids rather than discuss actual hygiene with them. And generations of males have had parts removed because it was taboo to discuss anything to do with sex or the organs involved.
@Chris: when the Reagans moved into the White House Nancy bought all new China (with taxpayer monies I believe) to replace what the Carters had because, you know, the latter were unrefined Southerners lacking in the social niceties. Aside from making me angry with their miss placed sense of class, Nancy was wrong about the Carters and Southerners lacking in the social graces. She was never on my list of likeable First Ladies after that.
I know that there is a strain of conservatism that pretty virulently objects to it. It’s tied up in antisemitism, to some degree, because all of that strain is tied up in antisemitism, to some degree. Kind of a ‘way of our viking ancestors, white identity’ kind of thing.
I also got the impression it was a way to kind of do that stolen-valor I’m-oppressed-too thing, by equating circumcision with female genital mutilation.
It was weird.
That is an incredible point.
That’s Gee Dubby to a tee. He is the Ascended Noble White Savage! A peasant with breeding…
“Clone, clone of my own, with a Y chromosome changed to X,
and when we’re alone, if my clone is my own, we’ll be thinking of nothing but sex.” To the tune of home on the range.
J R in WV
OK, this ‘Nym is great — I haven’t seen it before, I’m sure I would remember. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!!!
ETA, also, you are so correct, Jake is no journalist, not even a reporter.!!!
Heck, the Carters, unlike Clinton, Johnson, and Truman (all of whom were to various degrees looked down on in Washington, as was Carter), weren’t hicks. They were fairly well off. But, well, they were Southerners and that just made them hicks by definition to people like the Reagans.
This is the kind of thing that makes rural elites crazy to this day. Though naturally, most of them nowadays simply assume that the big city elites looking down on them are liberal and that the solution is to vote Republican.
Not so much a peasant with breeding as an aristocrat cosplaying as a peasant. Which is, in the end, what the Village wants rather than the real thing.
The entire event was between 2 adult human beings. Either they have the ability/right to do this or they don’t. He was wrong because he was married, but really, what’s the percentage married humans who screw around on their mates? It’s absolutely a ways above zero percent. How many humans are in long term relationships without being married? We have the ability to have individual, cognitive thoughts and actions that are against no law, and for those of no religion, that is not a controlling entity. And of course religion is a matter of individual choice. It’s Yes, No, Which one, Don’t Care. It has no actual binding action on anyone. It is great to respect religion and choice but it isn’t required. Marriage has no binding restraint under the law. It should have the respect of it’s participants but there is no legal requirement for that. That is met by CONSENT. We respect the person, and there is a large range of freedom to run your life as you see, with the major issue being CONSENT. Once the age of consent is reached. Until then the law does have a fair number of reasonable restrictions.
Relatedly, maybe?? Phys.org:
All this shit was before my kids were born. And the peeps here are still arguing about it.
My eldest who now can vote has no clue who any Clinton is.
That’s what matters, boomers.
The zoomers don’t give a fuck about this. The things that matter you have no clue.
Nobody who will matter in 10 years cares. Die or grow the fuck up.
Time to move on.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
really? that’s kinda sad that a young adult is that ignorant of recent history.
Paul in KY
@Another Scott: If Clinton could have extricated himself and his animus against the ones who gunned for him, he should have put the needs of the nation (no fucking Repub pres) and his party ahead of himself and resigned and let Al Gore run as an incumbent. Bet he wouldn’t have chosen Liebersuck as his veep choice.
Paul in KY
@catclub: Well done! Scans very well.
Paul in KY
@GibberJack: Thank you zoomer asshole.